The US Open, the second Grand Slam tennis Tournament of the year, serves off Monday in New York and will be played over two weeks but without spectators.
Tennis interrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic since March is playing its first major Championship following the Australian Open in January. Wimbledon in England was cancelled and the French Open was rescheduled to September.
World number two Simona Halep is the latest leading women’s player to withdraw from the US Open.
Romanian Halep is the sixth top 10 player to opt out of the Grand Slam, which will be played behind closed doors in New York from August 31.
Canada’s defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty are among the other big names to have pulled out.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic have also decided not to play in the tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-time Grand Slam winner – who won the Prague Open last Sunday – says she will stay and train in Europe, where the French Open is scheduled to start on September 27.
American great Serena Williams has committed to play in New York, along with Japanese 2018 champion Naomi Osaka, Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin of the United States and Czech world number three Karolina Pliskova. On the men’s side, Serbia’s world number one Novak Djokovic, Britain’s three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and Russian 2019 runner-up Daniil Medvedev are competing